Although everyone loves candy and chocolate at Halloween, no holiday would be complete without some home-baked goodies! Two of my personal favorites are sugar cookies and caramel apples. Try these recipes at home for a fun way to spice up your Halloween season — they make a perfect studying break too!
This recipe is a twist on an old favourite, and it is also gluten-free and can be made vegan. The basic recipe is originally from kriscarr.com, but I adapted it to make it my own a few years ago. There’s plenty of options to dress up your caramel apples and have fun with the decorating!
1 ½ cup pitted dates, packed
½ cup milk (for a vegan version, use non-dairy milk)
1/3 cup peanut butter (sub a different nut butter if you prefer)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
4-6 large apples (Granny Smith or McIntosh work well)
4-6 popsicle sticks
Options for topping: crushed nuts, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, any type of candy or crushed candy, sprinkles, dried fruit
1. Put the dates into a bowl with the milk, and let it sit for an hour so that the dates soften.
2. Once the dates are done sitting, in a food processor, combine the dates, any excess milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract and salt, until pureed. Transfer to the refrigerator in a container to harden briefly.
3. Wash your apples, and put the popsicle sticks into them. Get your toppings ready by laying them down on wax paper in a line. The way that you lay the toppings down is how they will look on your apple when you will roll the apple over them.
4. Coat each apple with the caramel coating and roll them through your toppings, one at a time.
5. Refrigerate after they are ready. These can keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Sugar cookies with buttercream icing
This recipe is one of my family’s favorites, adapted over the years by my mom. You can choose whatever shapes you want to cut your cookies into, and then the decorating is up to you as well! Some ideas are ghosts, pumpkins, cats or anything Halloween themed! This recipe makes approximately 30 cookies, depending on the sizes of your cookie cutters.
Cookie dough ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. milk (use 1 or 2 per cent)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all purpose flour (for a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free
1 tsp. Baking powder
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Add the sugar and egg, and mix it again. Then add the milk and vanilla extract to the bowl, and mix again.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Once this is mixed up, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet bowl, until it is all mixed together with the electric mixer.
3. If the dough is sticky, add another ½ cup of flour if necessary.
On a cutting board, work the dough — like play dough — until it is pliable.
4. Place your dough in a large ziplock bag and let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up.
5. Once the dough is done in the fridge, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Get a few cookies sheets ready, by placing parchment paper on top.
6. Roll the dough out onto a cutting board with a rolling pin, and once it’s flat, cut out the cookies with cookie cutters. You will need to do this several times to go through all the dough.
7. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them cool completely before decorating.
3 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup butter softened
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. milk (1 or 2 per cent)
Food colouring of your choice
Any candy of your choice for decorating
1. Cream the butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy.
2. Add half of the icing sugar and half of the milk, and mix together with the electric mixer. Then repeat with the other half of the ingredients, until everything is all mixed together.
3. Add food colouring to get desired colour for the icing.
4. Decorate your cookies!
Photos and text: Naomi Zurevinski / Editor-in-Chief